The travelogue of a couple’s 12-year journey around the world aboard their 60-foot sailboat.
Coral, the daughter of sailors Buford and Jerry Beach built this travelogue of her parents’ travels from diary entries and letters they wrote en route. She filled in what details her parents’ writing didn’t reveal, allowing the story to flow smoothly from her parents’ decision to build their dream boat to their deaths six years after their journey’s end. Scattered throughout are snapshots the Beaches took of themselves, their boat, and the people and places they visited after beginning their journey in the Caribbean. Though originally intended just for family and friends, their letters are highly readable. They capture the many joys the journey brought—scuba diving in the Caribbean, spotting cheetahs and leopards in South Africa, seeing natives decked out in full cultural garb and body paint in Papua New Guinea. The candid letters also convey hardship and frustration, including the time a South African crew dropped and nearly destroyed their boat while lifting it out of the water for repairs. Through it all, the Beaches kept their sense of humor. Jerry writes about a haircut she got in a Mexican salon with broken plumbing, with the stylist using water from a bucket. Another vignette pokes fun at messages botched in translation, including an airport announcement that “Flight #307 will arrive approximately immediately.” In ports around the world, the Beaches hosted countless fellow sailors for evening cocktails; the title comes from the gregarious couple’s ritual 5 o’clock happy hour. Between the lines is the love story of two people who, even after 12 years together on a 60-foot boat, still enjoyed each other’s company. Coral ends with a quote from a knowing friend who suggests that Buford and Jerry will forever be aboard a big boat, “sailing the wide blue heavens.”
Through this candid collection of notes and letters, readers will come to know an inspiring couple and the adventures they shared.